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EDITORIAL Sportswear, sustainability and the metaverse: how retailers’ strategies are evolving and how customers now want to buy

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In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting as M&S says it’s “going into battle” in the sportswear category, whose global value has been put at £8.6bn as it launches The Sports Edit platform hosting sportswear brands on its website. At the same time, the retailer is expanding its strategy of selling third-party brands on its website, offering attractions including the potential for engagement with an audience of millions of customers, as well as fulfilment through channels including its far-reaching network of collection points. In the other direction, most shoppers who buy a third-party brand product on its website also buy an M&S branded product as well. 

In the week that Centre for Retail Research figures suggest that the losses of almost 15,000 retail jobs have been announced so far this year, The Original Factory Shop is now guaranteeing experienced retail staff interviews as it looks to recruit. The numbers are tiny in comparison to the number of jobs being lost, but the story gives a useful insight into how some categories are doing better than others in a cost-of-living crisis, and where one sector is reducing headcount another may be expanding. 

We’re covering the latest research into how customers now want to buy. Business-to-business buyers say they will be happy to use an avatar to buy in the metaverse, a report from Wunderman Thompson Commerce & Technology suggests. But, right now they just want the online experience to be better than it is. 

And customers now expect environmentally-friendly packaging – and are willing to be patient more sustainable delivery, a new PFS study suggests. 

In todays’ guest comment, Melissa and Haim Pekel of Ongage set out how retailers can use the data they already have to make their emails much more personalised. 

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